Nadal to begin French Open campaign against Zverev

By Sports Desk May 23, 2024

Rafael Nadal will begin his French Open campaign against fourth seed Alexander Zverev, as the 14-time champion approaches what will likely be his final tournament at Roland-Garros.

Nadal has repeatedly said he plans to call time on his glittering career at the end of 2024, having struggled with hip and abdominal injuries in recent years.

His 14 titles in the French capital are four more than any other man has won at a specific major, with Novak Djokovic triumphing 10 times at the Australian Open.

The Spaniard, who has missed the last four majors, arrived at Roland-Garros on Monday and faces a tough opening assignment.

He will face world number four Zverev – who won the Italian Open last week – for a place in the second round, where David Goffin or Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard awaits.

Nadal faced Zverev en route to his last grand slam triumph at the 2022 French Open, the German being forced to retire due to an ankle injury over three hours into a gruelling semi-final matchup.

Novak Djokovic starts his title defence against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, as he looks to fend off competition from Jannik Sinner for top spot in the ATP Rankings.

Australian Open winner Sinner will face Christopher Eubanks first up, while third seed Carlos Alcaraz begins against a qualifier.

Like Nadal, Andy Murray is likely featuring at the French Open for the final time, and he has been drawn to face 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in a huge first-round encounter. 

In the women's draw, Iga Swiatek starts her bid for a third straight French Open crown against either a qualifier or a lucky loser, with Naomi Osaka a potential second-round opponent if the former world number one can overcome Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti.

Coco Gauff is on the same side of the draw as Swiatek, while second seed Arnya Sabalenka begins against Erika Andreeva in the other half, with Elena Rybakina her forecasted semi-final opponent. 

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